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733 Fred. Olsen Cruise Reviews

This is our second cruise with Fred Olsen absolutely fantastic Staff are brilliant food etc is 5 star plus Staff are always pleasant professional and always willing to help. Food is amazing in all the restaurants there is so much ... Read More
This is our second cruise with Fred Olsen absolutely fantastic Staff are brilliant food etc is 5 star plus Staff are always pleasant professional and always willing to help. Food is amazing in all the restaurants there is so much choice and always available We had the all inclusive the choice of drinks were amazing The bar staff would know what you liked and were on hand at all times. I was impressed that one of the bar staff knew my name from our first cruise which was 2 years ago. The cabin was spotless and the maid was so pleasant The entertainment was very good and also were the guest speakers The ship was immaculate and the crew were always cleaning the decks All the staff on the ship were so hard and always smile. It's a pleasure to sail with Fred Olsen and we will be sailing with them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The ship was great the embarkation was good and the disembarkation was a very smooth operation and crew could not do enough for us. I could not fault the quality or quantity of food on board and the entertainment was really good. There was ... Read More
The ship was great the embarkation was good and the disembarkation was a very smooth operation and crew could not do enough for us. I could not fault the quality or quantity of food on board and the entertainment was really good. There was also a well equipped gym and many treatment rooms. There was plenty of information in the cabin and the Daily Times news letter was very helpful. The Cabin was clean and comfortable with more than enough storage for the two of us the. Great cruise only let down by what I would call the incompetence of the shore tour people, it seems the lack of communication between ship and shore made us nearly miss the transfer bus to the helicopter flight (it was driving off as we got to the gate) and at £250 each for my nephew and myself would have been very disappointing to say the least. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Wonderful holiday. Small ship compared to some but lovely. Spotlessly clean. Food amazing and Norway is just fantastic. The service for drinks and at dinner was slow and that's only criticism. I particularly enjoyed the ballroom ... Read More
Wonderful holiday. Small ship compared to some but lovely. Spotlessly clean. Food amazing and Norway is just fantastic. The service for drinks and at dinner was slow and that's only criticism. I particularly enjoyed the ballroom dancing and attended a ballroom class. Unfortunately missed one due to illness. Nigel in particular was so kind, professional and patient. Some of the roads when out on tours are scary but so glad I did them. Have never seen such beautiful scenery. I was amazed how many older people with walking problems were on this cruise as soon of the gangways were tricky. It's not all older people as we were told but to be fair there were a few. Weather was great. My favourite place was Olden. Entertainment was good. The crew did a show at short notice as one of entertainment team had been injured. It was so good they got a standing ovation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
First, I must mention a similar cruise reviewed by Alfie111 in May 2018. It appears Alfie111 was surprised that two whole days of the tour were spent at sea transiting to and from Norway. The itinerary in the Fred Olsen brochure clearly ... Read More
First, I must mention a similar cruise reviewed by Alfie111 in May 2018. It appears Alfie111 was surprised that two whole days of the tour were spent at sea transiting to and from Norway. The itinerary in the Fred Olsen brochure clearly shows arrival and departure times at each port - depart Rosyth evening and arrive Norway following evening. Our cruise on the ms. ‘Balmoral’ was 7 nights from Newcastle to the Fjords departing on 22nd July 2018 and our first experience of cruising. First thing to mention is the ms. ‘Balmoral’ is a 30 year old ship, so if your preference is for a megaship carrying thousands of passengers then the ms. ‘Balmoral’ is not for you. We specifically chose Fred Olsen because their ships are small and have that classical ocean liner look. We were not disappointed even though the ms. ‘Balmoral’ is the largest ship in their fleet. The ship has style and ambiance to match. Indeed, when I saw the public rooms I immediately thought how nice they looked with superb furnishings and pictures of sailing ships. The food served was excellent quality. Our evening meals were booked in the Avon restaurant where service was a bit slow but generally, it did not matter. If the ship was sailing past beautiful scenery then we could skip the Avon restaurant and have a meal in the excellent Palms restaurant which served a buffet with good choices of food. Breakfast and lunch could be taken in any one of the restaurants. For the accommodation, we selected a balcony room on deck 8 (Lido deck). We had plenty of space for the two of us so a good choice. The only slight snag was that the hot water pressure was rather low. The air conditioning worked very well. The ship’s crew were always polite and very happy to chat and generally welcoming. We did not attend any of the shows so cannot comment on the entertainment. Shore excursions if one wished to participate, were well organised. For some reason the ships design meant that the fitness centre had the best forward facing view being directly above the bridge. Above the fitness centre was the Observatory lounge which was very pleasant but being set well aft, the forward view was marred by the top of the fitness centre. It would have been better had the ships designers swapped the two around and left a promenade area above the bridge so one could stand outside and better take in the forward view. As it is, the only open area looking forward is a walkway on deck 7. All-in-all, we thoroughly enjoyed being on the ms. ‘Balmoral’ for the food, service and experience of a classical cruise vessel. Should we decide upon another cruise then Fred Olsen would definitely be our choice. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was our first cruise experience and without any doubt it exceeded our expectations. Embarkation was very smooth and well organised. The staff showed great courtesy to all especially with guests with mobility problems. We had a junior ... Read More
This was our first cruise experience and without any doubt it exceeded our expectations. Embarkation was very smooth and well organised. The staff showed great courtesy to all especially with guests with mobility problems. We had a junior suite cabin with balcony and was impressed with the size and furniture. It was well decorated and felt warm and welcoming. Dining was excellent with dedicated servants to our table made it sure the we enjoy our dining experience. The after dinner entertaiment was very good with different shows every evening. For us the size of the ship was perfect were the restaurants and cafes are not over crowded. We were not just a number, but the staff knew us by name giving and feeling that personalised service. The ports of call are well chosen. Lots of intesting things to do and see. Had such a wonderfull experience that we are finding it hard to cruise with another line. In fact we booked our next criuse with Fred Olsen. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Never on a cruise before; staff, entertainment, food, service, hygiene and gym all superb. Cabin was excellent, well appointed and serviced. The staff were very attentive and worked tirelessly. Food options were very good with a high ... Read More
Never on a cruise before; staff, entertainment, food, service, hygiene and gym all superb. Cabin was excellent, well appointed and serviced. The staff were very attentive and worked tirelessly. Food options were very good with a high standard of presentation. It was particularly welcome that you could get a late snack and an afternoon tea beyond the time of lunch (handy if you were out). The gym was well kitted out and the weather was also good enough to go out on the top deck pool. The atmosphere was excellent in all the bars, in particular the observatory. The selection of ports was good and it was welcome that shuttle buses were on hand at Lerwick and kirkwall. Embarkation was very efficient. We got a freedom fare which made it exceptional value for money. Limited selection of beers and ciders would be a minor criticism. Overall, an excellent experience and certainly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This is our second cruise on Boudicca since her refit and we have noticed several "economy measures" this year. Gine are the chocolate left on the pillow with the turn down service, more often or not its a boled sweet instead, ... Read More
This is our second cruise on Boudicca since her refit and we have noticed several "economy measures" this year. Gine are the chocolate left on the pillow with the turn down service, more often or not its a boled sweet instead, a humbug is not quite the same Fred! Trimmings in the cocktails , a pina colada with no cherry just a slice of pineapple and a leaf. No theme nights such as Indian, Chinese or Asian but still they persist in the dreadful "British Night", probably as an excuse to serve cheap food such as bangers and mash and cottage pie. Personally I find the concept of elderly, overweight women in John Bull bowler hats and waistcoats singing Land of Hope and Glory quite nauseating, particularly as my husband is Irish. How would they feel if he acepted the invitation of wearing national costume by coming dressed as a leprechaun singing The Wearing of the Green, after all fancy dress is fancy dress! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Booked mainly as it left from Dover, It could not have been easier to embark, cabin all ready and staff lovely. Nothing was too much trouble from any member of staff, and although our itinerary was unavoidably changed everything was done ... Read More
Booked mainly as it left from Dover, It could not have been easier to embark, cabin all ready and staff lovely. Nothing was too much trouble from any member of staff, and although our itinerary was unavoidably changed everything was done to make our cruise memorable. Shore tours were, in the main, excellent and just around the right length and certainly just as described. Dining was a pleasure with tables not too close, staff attentive and the evening menu varied. The Breakfast & Lunch buffet was very good plus there was an a la carte choice as well. Only downfall [for me] was the evening entertainment, it lacked a lot, but the evening of entertainment from the crew - excellent. Throughout the cruise we were always kept well informed of the days itinerary and shore visits very well organised. Have already booked two more cruises - from Dover of course with very helpful booking from the staff at Fred Olsen offices. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Interesting itinerary, including Norway, Svalbard and the Faroes. Black Watch is an old boat, but is comfortable. Other clients are self evidently fairly old, and mainly British. Being smaller, embarkation and disembarkation is ... Read More
Interesting itinerary, including Norway, Svalbard and the Faroes. Black Watch is an old boat, but is comfortable. Other clients are self evidently fairly old, and mainly British. Being smaller, embarkation and disembarkation is quick and efficient. We were impressed with the attention given to sanitation/handwashing, with regular reminders and lots of antiseptic liquid available. We enjoyed the varied, well prepared food. The ship has a number of black tie dinners, but didn't really differentiate the dining experiences on these nights, so I'm not really sure why they bother (and many guests weren't compliant with the dress code anyway). The entertainment was very good, especially the main dance troupe. The crew are exceptionally friendly, and service was always excellent. We travelled with a walking group so did not go on any FO excursions - however these looked interesting and at a reasonable price. The reason why we have downrated this cruise is solely because of our neighbours smoking on the balcony adjacent to us (see below). Unfortunately, this means we will not book with Fred Olsen again until they change their smoking policy. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Recently did the Norwegian Fjords out of Rosyth. Enjoyed it from start to finish. Check in and settling in went very quickly and extremely well organised. Cabin was a superior cabin with a walk in shower. Much bigger than I ... Read More
Recently did the Norwegian Fjords out of Rosyth. Enjoyed it from start to finish. Check in and settling in went very quickly and extremely well organised. Cabin was a superior cabin with a walk in shower. Much bigger than I expected with plenty of wardrobe space. Beds and pillows extremely comfortable. Ship was spotless and a bit confusing to begin with. Plenty of lifts an£ signage. Food excellent and plentiful. Staff were excellent especially our dining waiters. They made it enjoyable. We had 4 ports in the week and as a person who uses 2 sticks for anything of any distance it worked well. Hop on hop off buses available at all ports. Bergen, Flam, Olden and Alesund. Let you see the surroundin* area and just enough time to do it. We had a ride on th3 Flam Scenic railway, it was 1 of the prebookable trips but we just bought a ticket there and did the trip. Very friendly ship and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Evening shows were enjoyable with different show each night. Disembarking was made easy by the well used routine. We were off the ship by 9am and on our way home. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
The cruise was from Dover so an easy drive from East Sussex, the destinations in Northern Germany with combination of Kiel, Travemunde, Hamburg and Bremen were attractive and it was a good balance of sea days and port visits - an advantage ... Read More
The cruise was from Dover so an easy drive from East Sussex, the destinations in Northern Germany with combination of Kiel, Travemunde, Hamburg and Bremen were attractive and it was a good balance of sea days and port visits - an advantage of the smaller ship allowing us to dock so close to the centre of each city. First time on Fred Olsen and was impressed, the ship is an older one but had been refurbished well and the standard of cleanliness was very high, good crew and excellent food. Fred Olsen is definitely for the more 'mature' client and is very British but that made a nice contrast to other cruises we have made with a more American flavour. Entertainment is low key but fun and we met some lovely and down to earth people. We had a balcony cabin which was very nice, deck 8 slightly restricted view but really no problem, on the whole would recommend especially if over 50 and not looking for the wild nightlife! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Itinary was the main reason for this trip. The outside cabin on the 4th deck was very good,comfy bed and kept perfectly clean by the housekeeper,there was "noise" but the ship is old and there were some rough seas to and from ... Read More
Itinary was the main reason for this trip. The outside cabin on the 4th deck was very good,comfy bed and kept perfectly clean by the housekeeper,there was "noise" but the ship is old and there were some rough seas to and from Iceland so it was noisy groaning and creaking also engine noise. The main dining room food was very good,service very slow but with good company on a 9 seater table just about exceptable,buffet area small and crowded,especally as the guest's were very old and slow,it did feel as if we were in an old people home most times. Entertainment was very good and well presented. The Black Watch is a small ship which might appeal to certain people,but not me,in rough seas it was like a cork in a bottle,did'nt suit me but there was a lot going for it other than that. Crew were excellent ,very helpfull. All inclusive drinks programme was very poor,only 4-5 spirits and a few beers, no cocktails at all even non alcohol ones ,coffee poor,better if you payed !!!!!!. Liverpool cruise terminal was a shambles,especialy with so many very elderly guests ,staff tried their best but to small for that many people,won'tbe keento go from there again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Sailed with Fred Olsen several times..this was not what I expected after paying top rates for a luxury cruise. Not a sparkling ship, the windows were filthy, sticky chair arms and backs of chairs. Smears on tables, even the black pianos ... Read More
Sailed with Fred Olsen several times..this was not what I expected after paying top rates for a luxury cruise. Not a sparkling ship, the windows were filthy, sticky chair arms and backs of chairs. Smears on tables, even the black pianos were clearly unpolished. Double glazed windows had water inside and during the heavy seas the blinds could be heard rattling all over the lounge bars. The al la carte restaurant was excellent but highlighted how basic the rest of the food was. Due to be understaffed - according to a staff member - a two course evening meal could take between 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Paper? covering the safety rails on the stairways was pealing. Several drinking glasses had to be replaced, smelly and dirty. Inclusive canapes were dry bread and inedible. I have never had such a claustrophobic cabin. We had to sit on the toilet in order to close the door, it was so tiny. The noise from fixtures and fittings made sleep impossible during high seas. For the third time we booked this cruise to celebrate an anniversary, our 40th. On a last minute decision we booked a tour on the actual day. £216 to see the Glacier fjords and Hesteyri boat trip. The Glacier was a background view through a split in the mountains about 2 mile away, nearly missed because no one mentioned it. As for the scenery not what I would call spectacular. When it came to disembarking the boat was moored at sea, offshore, so it entailed climbing over the back rails and dropping 2 feet to a ladder and then sitting on the edge of a rubber inflatable. The first 10 to go had a 15 minutes wait on shore in the biting cold for the rest of the passengers. The highlight, a cemetery and deserted herring factory? Elderly people do not like to be seen as unable to do things but an awful lot were decidedly green around the gills. I refused to go because amongst other things I suffer from severe sciatica but in the UK health and safety would have been appalled. The entertainment was excellent, activities were rather short and sweet. When a deserted village or one with 2 shops and a small supermarket are included in the stops there is not a lot one can say. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We selected the cruise because the itinerary met our requirements, and the cruise did meet our expectations in this respect, although a storm kept us out of the scheduled first port of call. Cabin very good, as were the staff on board. ... Read More
We selected the cruise because the itinerary met our requirements, and the cruise did meet our expectations in this respect, although a storm kept us out of the scheduled first port of call. Cabin very good, as were the staff on board. Food in general good, although very bland, probably to cater for the majority of guests on board. It did feel that this was an Old Folks Home on holiday, average age of guests must have been nearly 80, with too many needing walking aids just to get around the ship - some never to leave the ship in port of call! Goodness knows what would have happened in an emergency evacuation. Ship very much showing its age in spite of a recent refit. Didn't like the set meal times, and set table for the duration, much prefer an open table and time seating option. Fortunately we got on OK with our other table guests, but 16 days dining with the same people, we would not do this at home! Didn't likr the Fred Olsen charged extra for everything, from a cup of coffee, soft drink, water,change to a different restaurant, thats extra please! We had the drinks package on offer, very limited, a gin made in Spain, a whisky of unknown origin as were the other spirits on offer. If you want something different, thats extra please! Won't be using FOCL again, we will go back to our other preferred cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Wanted a short Cruise around North Scotland. House not far from Liverpool to pick the Ship up. 6 days before the Cruise Fred Olsen informed us that we would be bussed up to Rosyth from Liverpool staying overnight in Rosyth .(Due to a ... Read More
Wanted a short Cruise around North Scotland. House not far from Liverpool to pick the Ship up. 6 days before the Cruise Fred Olsen informed us that we would be bussed up to Rosyth from Liverpool staying overnight in Rosyth .(Due to a mechanical fault). The original itinerary was Liverpool>Fort William>Stornaway>Orkney Islands>Invergorgen>Liverpool. The change now was Rosyth>Invorgorden>Orkney Islands>Stornaway>Fort William>Liverpool. In Invergorden because of bad weather we stayed overnight in anchorage in the MurrayFirth and we had another itinerary change, this time going to Dundee>Shetland Islands>Stornaway>Fort William>Liverpool. Then we had another Itinerary change Dundee>Orkney Islands>Liverpool. So as you can see it was a Mystery 7 night Cruise? The Cabin Stewardess was excellent. The Food was Excellent. The Entertainment was very good especially the Cruise singers & dancers called Musicality & from the off board Scottish Highland dancers. The show featuring members of the Crew was exceptional,especially a middle aged man that worked in the Kitchen (his range of voice was exceptional. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I was about 8 years old when 'Black Watch' was launched under its original name, 'Royal Viking Star.' I remember seeing advertisements for it in my aunt's copies of Travel & Leisure magazine. Something about ... Read More
I was about 8 years old when 'Black Watch' was launched under its original name, 'Royal Viking Star.' I remember seeing advertisements for it in my aunt's copies of Travel & Leisure magazine. Something about the bow and funnel made it seem so elegant. I was marketed to world travelers, and offered six-star service. I dreamed that someday I might cruise on such a classically designed ship. Cut to more recent times when, thanks to the internet, I discovered that the ship was still in service with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, and had been refitted in 2016. I booked an 8-night cruise to Norway more than a year in advance, and waited with great anticipation for my departure. I will say that booking a Fred. Olsen cruise from the U.S. wasn't as convenient as I might have wished, but once it was done, it was "smooth sailing," as they say. I arrived in Liverpool the day prior to departure, and stayed in a hotel that overlooks the port. I awoke in the morning and went straight to the widow. There she was! After 46 years of waiting, I finally laid eyes on a ship I have admired since childhood! What an amazing feeling! Arriving at the port, my bags were immediately whisked-off, and I was welcomed into the well-organized and uncrowded terminal area. Unlike many of today's "mega-ships," where THOUSANDS of people are waiting to be "processed," check-in and embarkation for 'Black Watch' was a breeze. When I arrived in my cabin my bags were already there, and I was able to unpack and get organized before heading-off to explore the ship. The next 8 days were simply terrific! While the ship is 46 years old, FOCL has done a very commendable job of keeping her in great condition. If you're looking for all the latest advances in cruise ships, 'Black Watch' can't compete. But it doesn't need to. It is a classic, and offers an experience that is increasingly hard to find in today's world. Its size is perfect. Easy to navigate, and with around 800 passengers, it never felt crowded. Deck chairs and seats in the various lounges and bars were always available, and an air of quiet, comfortable ambiance prevailed. Viewing the spectacular fjords of Norway from the Lido Deck (cocktail in hand) was delightful. Evenings in the Observatory Lounge or Morning Light Pub were totally relaxing and enjoyable. Entertainment in the Neptune Lounge was fun and engaging. I especially enjoyed the productions by the "Black Watch Show Company." Made-up of about seven performers, each show was full of energy and real talent. The two male singers, Luke Suri and Tom Watson, were true stand-outs. If I had any disappointment on this cruise it is that we weren't treated to just one more show from them. Dining aboard 'Black Watch' was also quite enjoyable. Meals never felt rushed, and the service in all of the venues was attentive and professional. The Executive Chef was frequently in the dining room conversing with passengers, and she seemed to take a genuine interest in speaking with them. Choices were abundant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My cabin was spotlessly clean when when I boarded the ship, and remained that way throughout the cruise, thanks to my nearly invisible stewardess, Lang. The bed was comfortable, and the bathroom seemed gigantic compared to those found on some newer ships. In fact, my accommodations were among the largest I have seen among standard cabins on any ship. I visited the on-board Atlantic Spa on two occasions. While the space is not particularly glamorous, the staff was very friendly, and both treatments were quite rejuvenating. Well worth the money for a bit of pampering! All of the shore excursions I booked (Lerwick, Bergen, Flam, Olden) were well-organized, informative and fun. The local guides were excellent, and the coaches used for transport were very modern and comfortable. Prior to departure we were advised that our cruise would end in Rosyth, Scotland instead of Liverpool. This turned-out to be a bit of a treat, as it allowed for a visit to Edinburgh, which I would not have experienced otherwise. Overall, my experience on 'Black Watch,' and my first Fred. Olsen cruise, met and exceeded my expectations. Beautiful ship, wonderful crew, great itinerary! A trip I will always remember. I very much look forward to another opportunity to cruise with FOCL. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Our dinner sitting was 6.15pm. My husband's parents were also on the same cruise but had an 8.30pm sitting. We were advised to ask at the restaurant if they could change to earlier so we could dine together. The 1st and 2nd night the ... Read More
Our dinner sitting was 6.15pm. My husband's parents were also on the same cruise but had an 8.30pm sitting. We were advised to ask at the restaurant if they could change to earlier so we could dine together. The 1st and 2nd night the matre dee said no but when we offered him a £20 note on the 3rd evening suddenly a table was available and according to the other 2 people already at the table these seats had been empty both previous nights that we'd asked. Amazing what a tip can do!! Entertainment was dire. Pretty much like a seaside resort with average dancers, singers, comedians etc. Thouroughly enjoyed the food and choice of restaurants. Cabin was good sized and clean but disappointed that we only saw our cabin steward once on the day we arrived and not at all the rest of the cruise. Plenty of sunbeds and seating round the outside deck areas. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
My wife had longed to see the fiords. Consequently, we booked the FO five-nights trip to Norway. We did not realise that for two whole days of this trip we would be traversing the North Sea! This is not made clear in the advertising ... Read More
My wife had longed to see the fiords. Consequently, we booked the FO five-nights trip to Norway. We did not realise that for two whole days of this trip we would be traversing the North Sea! This is not made clear in the advertising material. The destinations (three) were dramatic but it took an inordinate amount of time to get to Norway from Rosyth and the same on the return journey. As a result, we spent two days of the trip staring out at the North Sea. The staff and food on the boat are very good with plenty of choice and excellent quality. The on-board entertainment is mediocre. We would not advise anyone to rely on the advertised wi-fi package. Reception is weak and in our case we could not get a broadband connection after 24 hours of leaving port. We had paid £50 (for one device). After we complained and the boat’s IT man also failed to get any reception, our money was refunded. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We booked this cruise as originally we booked a P&O cruise which was cancelled because they sold the ship! We booked it 7 months in advance and requested 1st sitting for dinner on a table of 6-8 people so that we would have a variety ... Read More
We booked this cruise as originally we booked a P&O cruise which was cancelled because they sold the ship! We booked it 7 months in advance and requested 1st sitting for dinner on a table of 6-8 people so that we would have a variety of people to talk to over a lengthy meal. However on arrival we discovered that we were on the 1st sitting but on a table for 4. The other couple were very pleasant but were very elderly (guessing near 90) and had very little conversation. We decided that we could not take another 9 evenings of stilted conversation and asked to move table but there were none available, so the only option was to move to the 8.30 sitting which we reluctantly did. Luckily we were on a table of 6 like minded people and enjoyed the rest of our meals. However, this meant that I was starving each evening waiting for my meal and had to fill up on snacks. Also there is absolutely no entertainment on the ship between 5pm and 8pm so the only options were to go to the bar, read a book or watch TV (which did not work a lot of the time as it lost the satellite signal so there was only the news or films to watch). In Addition the 2nd entertainment show was not until 10.30 pm, so we could not go as we wanted to be in bed by 11pm as we had be up early for tours. So our evenings were spoiled. However, we enjoyed the daytimes, food was very good and so was the service. We took advantage of the drinks upgrade which meant certain drinks were included all day. We enjoyed the one show that we did go to and the various tours, with the exception of Dublin, which was not very good. We were lucky that the weather was lovely and saw the Scottish islands at their best. We had a balcony cabin mainly because it gave you a larger cabin as the standard cabins on Boudicca are very small. Fresh fruit, water and canapés included every day, comfortable bed. Would not cruise with Fred Olsen again unless they change the evening meal to open dining. We were surprised that Shetland, the Orkneys and Lewis are very bleak with hardly any trees, the tours were of good quality. Only spent half a day in Mull, would have preferred longer. Some people had to get up at 6 am to go on a lengthy tour to be back in time to leave. Loch Ness boat ride was lovely. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Having had to postpone a river trip in France owing to the current strikes we chose this cruise as we have always wanted to see the remoter parts of the UK by sea. Embarkation was, before time, slick and rapid and we didn't have ... Read More
Having had to postpone a river trip in France owing to the current strikes we chose this cruise as we have always wanted to see the remoter parts of the UK by sea. Embarkation was, before time, slick and rapid and we didn't have to wait long for our luggage to be delivered. We have to recommend Relyon parking in Dover who run a cost effective, cheerful, and efficient service. They are not as convenient as the Port of Dover but the latter's open air car parks are quite vulnerable to any passing storm - but the seagulls do not discriminate between either of them! A bit of confusion about availability of refreshments at boarding. FO said nothing would be available until dinner but in fact there was a good spread available in the Secret Garden Café when we got aboard. The first sea day was inevitably busy as all the port talks had to be covered but as it wasn't a nice day outside that wasn't a problem. Fred's bringing a Scots presenter aboard who was also a qualified lecturer on malt whiskies was also a bonus. Invergordon is rather remote from the sights and is a rather sad town but we learnt that it is the only deep water port for the North West of Scotland north of Edinburgh. Big ships were scheduled all week, and it has been a Royal Navy base in the past, so there is no real alternative. We did an excellent tour encompassing the beautiful house and gardens of Cawdor Castle and the Culloden battlefield. A bonus was that our guide used to be at managed at the latter. Some people felt it was a bit rushed but, if it had been two half day tours maybe they may not have been enough to run either - and of course extending it to a day tour would have increased the cost substantially. Catch 22. Lerwick in Orkney provided an efficient shuttle service for the 2 mile trip to town and the local sights were all accessible by public transport. Lerwick in Shetland is an interesting and busy fishing port and although the berth was two miles from the town a limited shuttle was available. We did a wildlife boat trip to Mousa island which was really interesting with many rare sights. Stornoway in Harris/Lewis is a pleasant town and, as the weather was not only as calm as usual but a lot warmer, our trip to 'The Far North' was well organised and interesting - lots of wildlife and impressive coastal scenery beyond the peat bogs! Tobermory on Mull was a beautiful little tender port. We chose to visit the Abbey on Iona. Apart from an 0630 start, it proved a fascinating day. the 53 mile coach trip over largely single track roads was very well commentated by our guide and the two hours we spent on Iona (after a ferry trip) were very interesting. Tiring but another place off the bucket list. The last port, Dublin, was shared with three other ships so was very busy. The traffic upset many passengers as it caused problems for several tours but we managed a few sites by walking the city centre and found the place enchanting and very friendly. Another hot and sunny day. The last day was a sea day and allowed some relaxation but all in all I don't think you'd do this sort of cruise to have a rest. The passengers were generally elderly but ready for the challenges and we made some good friends. The Captain (Mikael Degerlund) was very hands on and engaging and the two parties he hosted were very amusing and entertaining. He is obviously well liked and at ease with his officers and crew. Boudicca has had a very successful refit and has been nicely modernised. She still rattles a bit as befits her age but everything (other than the new TV system which was very disappointing in its reliability) worked well. We felt uneasy with the arrangements for breakfast and dinner where the default situation was self-service - the waiters would serve you but we wee left with the feeling that they preferred self service. As P&O cruisers we much prefer waiter service but that is simply a matter of taste. We didn't buy the drinks package as we wanted to see if our drinking habits made this an advantage or not from both financial and choice points of view. We actually found DIY cheaper and, as our Ocean's discount didn't apply to the package, distinctly so. We also much preferred to have the choice of anything on the drinks/wine menus. Maybe heavy drinkers may not find it so but to us it appeared that most people were on the package. Our table mates were on it and had to occasionally wait for the waiter to top them up at dinner. However, we really enjoyed the cruise and found the friendliness of the Fred Olsen officers and staff very refreshing. Maybe Fred Olsen overplays the small ship advantages as there is not the choice of facilities available on bigger ships and we have found that small ships are often given the less attractive berths in big-ship ports. We have been on even smaller ships than Fred's and they have had really imaginative itineraries including ports such as the island of Monserrat and Cuba. But Fred is unbeatable in Norwegian 'inner passage', Kiel Canal and river ports (Braemar) itineraries. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose the cruise because of the ports it was visiting, we have sailed on all of the other Fred Olsen ships in the last few years. This was our first and and is definitely our last cruise on Black Watch, she is a tired old ship from a ... Read More
We chose the cruise because of the ports it was visiting, we have sailed on all of the other Fred Olsen ships in the last few years. This was our first and and is definitely our last cruise on Black Watch, she is a tired old ship from a bygone era and it shows, they really are papering over the cracks with this ship, she is a tired old lady who should be put out to grass or advertised as a ship for the over 70's and especially single older ladies. We don't wish to be rude to any one but, just pass by the Library at any time and you will see what we mean, we nicknamed it the dormitory, it was full of old people fast asleep. We like traditional cruising and enjoy formal nights and all of the other things that go with it and we like smaller ships, we don't want to go rock climbing and surfing on board or wish for a 6000 passenger super ship but, Black Watch is past it. The specialty restaurant was dark and uninviting with people queuing outside for the main restaurant staring through the lattice grill whilst you ate, not a good option. The self service restaurant is tiny and full of staff members so we could never get in. The saving grace was the crew, they are very good and try hard to get things just right for you. The Observatory Bar Staff in particular were excellent. We chose the all inclusive drinks package, it wasn't worth it, the longer the cruise went on the less wine refills seemed to be available in the restaurant, the spirits are short measures and mixers from the pump so very sweet in taste and not much flavour. Beware when in the outside spaces as great chunks of oily soot from the funnel make an all too regular appearance on you clothes, in your drinks and in the swimming pool! I am sure some people reading this review love Black Watch and will howl in protest at its content but, we are in our early 60's so not 30 year old's wanting a "Night Club" ship, and this ship in our view is not up to standard for the 21st century. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Definitely a decline in quality of food this trip, I noticed a distinct economising in food and bar staff, but most disturbing was the immobility of passengers. Should there unhappily have been an evacuation, the the number of wheelchairs, ... Read More
Definitely a decline in quality of food this trip, I noticed a distinct economising in food and bar staff, but most disturbing was the immobility of passengers. Should there unhappily have been an evacuation, the the number of wheelchairs, 3 pronged walkers and very immobile passengers would have been a disaster waiting to happen. The narrower passageways would have been blocked up very badly and caused much panic. A great many were unable to use any stairs and two wheelchairs plus handlers were all the lifts could take at one time. Enjoyed previous FO cruises, but had never come across so many immobile passengers. Will certainly be revising any future cruises and definitely not recommending FO any more.I agree guests with mobility problems need a break, but perhaps a review of whether so much disability is a danger to themselves and other passengers should be undertaken. A ship is not the easiest hotel to leave at the best of times, and should they even make the lifeboat, with handlers and crew milling around to help each individual, there could be serious consequences for the more able bodied.The cruise apart from that was a good break, visiting interesting ports with plenty to see at each one. The staff as usual were polite and friendly and happy to help in any way at all times. Cabin was excellent with loads of storage room.Boarding and disembarkation was very efficient. Information, by phone and website, before cruise was also excellent. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Been on Balmoral numerous times and always enjoyed it, This time was no different. The itinerary was great. Sweden is a beautiful country and the ports of call were good, especially Visby and Stockholm. The ships crew are wonderful, ... Read More
Been on Balmoral numerous times and always enjoyed it, This time was no different. The itinerary was great. Sweden is a beautiful country and the ports of call were good, especially Visby and Stockholm. The ships crew are wonderful, very friendly and helpful. They really go that extra mile to make sure everthing is OK for you The entertainment was mixed. The visiting acts were run of the mill, the shows put on by the dancers were good,but I miss the theme nights.Our cabin was very comfortable and the beds and pillows made for a good nights sleep. The food was varied, always hot and tasty and because of dietary requirements the chef went out of his way to provide me with food I could eat. I enjoy dancing and there is always some dancing before and during the evening entertainment. Dance hosts are there as partners for solo travellers.The fully equipped gym is very good and classes are held for various activities although most incur an extra charge. Quizzes go on throughout the day and Howard in the light morning lounge provides very enjoyable easy listening. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
For the itinerary and time of going. The entertainment in the Observatory lounge was excellent, Adam Reece who even played requests, did a great job despite people talking over his music which is very rude. The other musicians around the ... Read More
For the itinerary and time of going. The entertainment in the Observatory lounge was excellent, Adam Reece who even played requests, did a great job despite people talking over his music which is very rude. The other musicians around the ship were equally as good. The staff in the Lido lounge were very pleasant and friendly, nothing was too much trouble for them. Also the girls in the Casino who were very good and friendly. On going down to the tender to get off was easy as the crew helped my partner and i took my time walking down the steps and collecting my scooter. We only went on one trip which was well organised . In the future we wont be sailing with Fred Olsens, at the age of 60 and 61 respectively we found the other passengers alot older than us. For instance when i was reading a book i looked up and they were all asleep in the reading areas so i crept out and left them to it. Freds should advertise that their cruises are not really for anyone under the age of 60. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Chose this cruise because I wanted to see Norwegian Fiords. Everything about the cruise was first class from embarkation to disembarkation. The Fred Olsen tours were extremely good and well organised, the crew were so helpful and the food ... Read More
Chose this cruise because I wanted to see Norwegian Fiords. Everything about the cruise was first class from embarkation to disembarkation. The Fred Olsen tours were extremely good and well organised, the crew were so helpful and the food amazing. I only have one complaint about the whole cruise, the coffee everywhere on board was awful, quite tasteless, apart from that the whole cruise was faultless and I shall go on another Fred Olsen cruise. We were very lucky to have very good weather and were able to use the pool and whirlpools which were very clean and well maintained. It was lovely to sit on the sun deck and no shortage of crew to bring drinks. The crew were a,ways smiling and nothing was too much trouble. The dining room was well organised and service was promt, the formal evenings were especially good, who doesn’t enjoy getting dressed up. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
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